Canadian Consulting Engineer

GHD launches wastewater testing service for COVID-19 detection

“The launch of this service translates to one more weapon in the fight against the pandemic.” - Peter Capponi

September 11, 2020   By CCE

Wastewater testing

Photo courtesy GHD.

Engineering firm GHD is collaborating with laboratory group Eurofins to test wastewater for purposes of early COVID-19 detection and outbreak reduction.

Part of a growing global trend, the new service will allow public health entities, utilities and facility operators to test and monitor their wastewater to detect the presence of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The intent is to detect local infections, including asymptomatic people, before an outbreak occurs.

The wastewater testing program is non-invasive and can be deployed across municipalities, schools, manufacturing facilities and a wide range of buildings with minimal disruption to day-to-day operations.

“The launch of this service translates to one more weapon in the fight against the pandemic,” says Peter Capponi, GHD’s North American industrial and manufacturing sector leader. “The testing technology has the potential to offer scientific evidence to a wide range of organizations to support their decision-making.”

Studies have shown wastewater can be a lead indicator of the coronavirus in localized populations, through regular and ongoing monitoring. Testing can detect traces of the virus up to three days in advance of symptoms appearing in the monitored area.

A growing number of countries have turned to wastewater testing to track community outbreaks. The specific technology developed by Eurofins works by targeting two genome sequences, in accordance with guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO). Results are provided within 48 hours of sample testing.

GHD has added epidemiology and virology resources to its pandemic response and developed key strategic relationships with public-health and academic institutions.


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